How to Get the Most from Your Human Resources

Posted: 26th March 2018 11:01

It is common for a business owner to say that the most valuable asset of their company is the people who come in every day and do the work. Unfortunately, all too many company managers forget that bit of insight and slip into an easy habit of treating the workers like commodity parts that can be easily exchanged.

In the litigious society in which we find ourselves, there are good reasons not to think this way. It is easy to dislodge someone from their desk, print out a pink slip, and deactivate their security badge. But there are consequences for wrongfully dismissing an employee. There is and should be zero tolerance for dismissing someone on the following grounds:

And there should never be a time when the most valuable assets in your company feel undervalued for any reason. The main reason workers feel undervalued is because managers forget that their most valuable resources are indeed human. And humans require certain amounts and types of motivation. Just as a machine needs power, humans need the following:

Recognition for a Job Well Done

Sometimes, the only thing required is a public pat on the back for a job well done. One of the easiest ways to do that is to offer symbols of achievement that can be visualized and displayed for others to see. Trophies in the workplace have served that role for many years. It is a perfectly natural progression from receiving trophies and awards in grade school and college for athletic and academic achievements. The workplace is no different.
Some managers make the mistake of believing that a good paycheck is recognition enough. While money is important, motivation is about more than money. When it comes to motivation, there is nothing like recognition. People don’t share paycheck information with coworkers. Trophies are a much better way of sharing recognition without personal details.

A Clear Path Forward

A clear path forward starts with clear guidelines and expectations. Rather than being motivated, employees will always be on edge if they are never sure what the policies are. Beyond the policies, there are the expectations. It is one thing to ask that employees take initiative. But it is unfair to leave them with no clear boundaries and expectations. This generates fear and stress rather than confidence.

Once those things are settled, the upwardly mobile employee is motivated by their next assignment, their next challenge, their next promotion. What they need is a clear path forward so that they know exactly what it takes to get to the next level. A career is a journey rather than a destination. And a journey needs a clearly marked roadmap. 

If employees are left to work without a clear sense of where they are going, or if they are going anywhere at all, they will often jump ship and move to another place that provides a path forward. No one wants to be trapped under a glass ceiling.

A Sense of Importance

Steve Jobs famously lured the CEO of Pepsi by asking him if he wanted to sell sugar water for the rest of his life. No one wants to feel like they are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Everyone wants to feel like they have an important role to play in the grand plan.

Researchers want to eradicate disease and change the world for the better. Doctors want to save lives. Soldiers and police officers want to make the world a safer place. Your employees want to have the same aspirations. And it is up to you to make sure that they feel like the work of their lives is meaningful.

If you devalue the job your employee does, you devalue the employee. Let the worker make important decisions. Give them responsibility and a sense of ownership in the process and outcome. That way, whatever job you ask them to do will feel a lot more important. 

Make sure your Human Resources receive the recognition they deserve. Provide them with a clear path forward. And give them a sense of importance in everything they do. This is the fuel that will power your Human Resources for years to come.